A message like this would make me want to run 1000 miles away. How uncomfortable for you!
I have little patience for my parents nowdays and would probably send a response like "having young kids is a lot of work. It's hard to just drop things and come over. Will try to come around once per month. Feel free to organise something specific or pop around to my place (just text first) - that would make it so much easier for me."
Any further negative nancy responses would be met with a swift "stop - I don't have the time to deal with tantrums from adults."
I can understand the point about "not planning in advance". Both sides of my family are like that. Yet DH and I need to plan as he lives/works interstate and we have to fly him around a lot. It's easy to say that when you've lived and worked in the same place your whole life.
I think that this letter warrants a face/face discussion with your parents and your siblings. Your parents probably are missing the fact that their house is no longer the centre of all the family events. Plus with retirement they are probably lonely and cranky.
Agree with others - have a face to face with them. Be the bigger people that they weren't able to be.
However, don't appease.
Relationships need both sides to commit to a way forward. This does not mean they send an email and everyone else dances to their tune.
I think this needs calm explanation as to why their "culture" doesn't fit with your "culture" but that you'd love more time together or the kids with them or whatever, but that to do that, you need some planning.
Agree with whoever said Christmas and birthdays fall on the same dates each year. With competing family commitments it is not unreasonable that you'd like some planning to at least decide "whose house this year?" But again, if they're not prepared to compromise they will find themselves missing out - again!
Somerset Woman (04-09-2015)
Thank you all for your input. The advise given in this thread is really helpful, and it's comforting knowing I'm not the only person in the world struggling with this at the moment.
You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.
what a ridiculous fb message to receive!! there have been many fabulous responses in this thread so doubtful I'll have anything much to add but it just struck me as very selfish on the grandparents part. they're the ones who are retired and have the least commitments and most time on their hands. yet it's "not part of their culture (wtf)" to organize things like Christmas?
all I'm getting is that they're cranky that you're not all living your lives to their liking. totally oblivious and ignorant to the fact that you are all busy, have your hands full with kids etc.
as previous posters have said, it's just adult tantrums. they sound like they need to get a few hobbies, rather than looking to their kids as their only form of entertainment.
I think a face to face or family meeting is required to hash it all out and for everyone to get their points across. by no means should you allow this to make you feel guilty or as though you've done anything wrong.
also, I think your relationship with your siblings is your business, not theirs. how often, when and where you choose to all catch up is at your discretion and not something they need to monitor and pass judgement on.
Last edited by turquoisecoast; 04-09-2015 at 10:33.
my parents are still of the "culture" (for want of a better word) where you just drop in to someone's house if you're in the area. I find the concept so foreign and rude! whenever they tell me "oh we dropped into so-and-so's as we were in the area" I tell them off. I know nobody is busy with newborns or breastfeeding at their age but what if someone's feeling unwell or has just had a blazing row with their spouse and feels rude turning unannounced guests away?? they're obviously of the generation where if you were out and about you didn't have a mobile to text or call and check if it's ok to just pop in. even though everyone has a mobile nowadays, I don't think the practice is front of mind for them.
amongst their own generation I guess it's not so bad as they're probably all of that same "culture" but there's definitely likely to be culture clash if oldies start dropping in on our generation at home unannounced!!
My parents are similar to yours, OP, in the sense that they expect their kids to visit regularly, but make no effort to visit us. There was a time a few years back where things were really rough for me and I just didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone. And my parents house is not a very happy one, anyway, so I didn't enjoy the visits either way. I was really depressed at the time and hadn't seen them for about 2 months, which I understand them not liking that, but my dad basically told me to just not bother going over anymore at all (he didn't mean it, but that caused me to burst into tears and walk out). Way to make me feel better, huh? I think a lot of parents struggle to let go of their kids and let them live their own lives. They also expect their kids to drop everything to see them, but won't make that same effort in return. And they think the younger generation is entitled?!
In the 6 years I've been out of home, my parents have visited twice.
They also mentioned to me that when they would babysit my neice, my SIL wanted them to go to their house to do it because she has to go to work and to drive to my parents house would take half an hour plus at least 45 minutes to get to work. It was completely out of the way, yet they acted like it was awful that she asked that (they don't like her)...my parents are retired, mind you and had no other commitments. Their excuse was that they're "old". They still did it, though
I visit my parents every 2-3 weeks. They also ask about the last time I saw my siblings. Once my brother had to cancel coming over to our house and my mum called him and told him off after I very casually mentioned it (no malice intended). And then he called me and asked if him not coming over was a drama!
Honestly, if I got a letter like that, I would ignore it unless they brought it up. And then told them if they want to see me more often they can come over or actually plan something and leave it at that. They can't send you something like that and then basically tell you they aren't going to change so you should. Rubbish.
We have an absolutely no unannounced visit rule at our house and my DH has told my mum (gently and kindly as he's very diplomatic with things like that) many times. A few weeks ago we had just had our newborn home for a couple of weeks and my mum had been invited to come over the next day and she dropped in unannounced (and totally unnecessary she was dropping something off um I'm seeing you tomorrow it can wait), anyway DH was out I was in the shower, baby asleep and she knocks on the door sending the dog ballistic and waking baby and nothing I could do as I was in the shower. She got a firm reminder that she is welcome to come over anytime but please call first.
My DH jokes that if she does it again he's going to answer the door in a towel and say I'm just busy with your daughter give us a few more minutes 😅 and he so would too.
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